We already knew that the Red Sox and left-hander Jon Lester tabled extension talks at the end of spring training, but now we have some details about the negotiations. And it doesn’t bode well for his chances of staying in Boston.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Boston’s most recent offer to Lester was a four-year deal worth $70 million. This confirms reports from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. That’s an AAV (average annual value) of $17.5 million. Lester has expressed a desire to stay in Boston and take a hometown discount, but that sounds awfully low.
According to Rosenthal, Lester rejected the offer and will not resume negotiations until after the season. Given the lucrative market for starting pitching, the Red Sox will likely have to significantly improve their offer in order to keep him from testing the free agent market.
Lester is coming off a bounceback year and owns a 2.57 ERA through three starts this season. He turns 31 next January.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.